LEWISTOWN - Any year a young man ends his football season as the winner of the Alex Ufema Award, it's a special event. Kyle Kahley, who took the award home Thursday night after his selection was announced at the Meet the Huskies event at Mifflin County High School, can attest to how special it really is.
The Alex Ufema Award is given in recognition of each year's most outstanding Mifflin County football player, and Kahley was a very worthy recepient of the award.
Kahley had a great season for the Huskies, leading the team with 545 rushing yards and eight touchdowns from his fullback position, and also provided strong defense from the outside linebacker spot.
Sentinel photo by MATT STRICKER
Mifflin County Huskies junior Kyle Kahley, third from left, is this year’s winner of the Alex Ufema Award, given out to Mifflin County’s top high school football player. Presenting the award are, from left, WMRF-FM Jed Donahue, Mifflin County athletic director Matt Shoemaker, and Huskies football coach George Miskinis.
But even with Kahley's noteworthy statistics, he was humble about the award, stating that the other two nominees, Curtis Jerzerick and John Michael Maclay, were also great options for the award.
As Kahley said of the voting, "I felt like it came down right to the end."
Kahley was right about the voting being close. Four different Huskies received first place votes, with seven players receiving at least one vote. But in the end it was Kahley who came out on top.
Coach George Miskinis was very complimentary of Kahley's performance throughout the whole season.
"You look at a person who's had the biggest impact, and you look over the entire season and Kyle was there from the beginning through to the end," Miskinis said.
Miskinis also said that Kahley got stronger as the season progressed, and that many of his yards were earned after the first contact.
"The first defender would come up and hit him, and he would just keep on running and his legs would keep on churning and he would get all that extra yardage," Miskinis said.
Outside of his offensive performance, Miskinis said that Kahley also improved throughout the season on the defense and had a quick read which made him tough at outside linebacker.
This year was the Huskies' first within the Mid-Penn Conference, and Miskinis said one thing they've learned over the past season is to take opportunities when they arise. And as far as he's concerned, Kahley, a junior, will be a part of that Husky mentality.
"From Memorial Day on, Kyle will be with us, and he'll be one of those people that we'll be counting on to lead us," Miskinis said.
From both Miskinis and Kahley, one of the greatest themes they took out of the night was what the Huskies will be able to do next season. Miskinis referenced the close scoring for the Ufema award as an indicator of the talent present throughout the whole team.
"Our talent level is there, we've just got to cut down on our turnovers. We've shown people that we can compete with them. We played a lot of teams down the road in the Mid-Penn that were senior-oriented or senior-laden, and it bodes well because all we have to do is keep working and things will fall into place," Miskinis said.
Kahley also expressed how excited he is for next season, but also said that what made this year special was the way the team came together.
"The way that we came together as a team last year helped us so much this year," Kahley said. "We just got closer and closer as the year went on."
Jerzerick and Maclay, both of whom Kahley described as "pretty close friends," are likely to be key contributors to next year's efforts. Jerzerick, who had 64 tackles this season, is always a strong member of the defense, and Maclay, who led the team with 16 passes for 380 yards and three touchdowns, is also a great contributor to the team.
Add Kahley's abilities at fullback to Jerzerick's defensive contribution and Maclay's passing, and it becomes evident why they were the three finalists for the Ufema award.
Kahley said that his own rushing yards came from his determined mindset, but he was also sure to give the line a lot of credit.
"First of all, I give a big shout out to the line," Kahley said. "They did a great job up front. Once I got past them, it was pretty just my own determination and mindset that I was going to get past the defense."
The Ufema Award is presented annually by MERF Radio to Mifflin County's top football player. Nominees are voted on by local media, including The Sentinel, and representatives of the Mifflin County High School's athletic department. Each voter chose three candidates, with points awarded to first, second and third-place vote recipients and the award going to the player with the highest vote total.